Erstad and Finley on Cubs Radar

Ken Rosenthal at FoxSports is reporting that FA outfielders Darin Erstad and Steve Finley are "on the Cubs radar" as potential stop-gap CF candidates for 2007, and that they are still interested in signing Cliff Floyd as a part-time LF. Rosenthal also mentions Bernie Williams as a possible bridge (and mentor) to Felix Pie, although it is not clear whether Williams will retire if he can't get a new deal done with the Yankees. Rosenthals's comments presume that Jacque Jones leaving the Cubs is a given, and maybe it is. But it is at least theoretically possible for the Cubs to just keep Jones and play him in CF until whenever Pie is ready, and then move Jones at that time. But maybe Jim Hendry has promised Jones that he positively will trade him prior to Opening Day. I don't know.
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I say play JJ in CF. In a cursory look at his stats during the early part of his career, he seems to have done well enough to carry on at Wrigley.

I find this refusal to "block" Pie in CF completely inconsistent with the stated organizational goal of winning a WS now.

As good a prospect as Pie might be, how can you justify hurting the the major league team by holding CF in limbo while Pie develops (or fails to develop, based upon his winter league performance).

Hendry needs to go out and get a legitimate CF who can help this team win now. If Pie develops, so be it and it gives the organization another good asset. But to put a broken-down Erstatd or an over-the-hill Finley in CF while waiting for Pie is lunacy.

"Rosenthals’s comments presume that Jacque Jones leaving the Cubs is a given"

Why would you have to give JJ? He's inexpensive, you sign Williams, kick Pagan to the curb and you have a MLB outfield.

Barry Bonds the best team mate in the entire world....

Barry Bonds failed a test for amphetamines last season and originally blamed it on a teammate, the Daily News reported Thursday.

When first informed of the positive test, Bonds attributed it to a substance he had taken from teammate Mark Sweeney's locker, the New York City newspaper said, citing several unnamed sources.

Bonds did not appeal the positive test, which made him subject to six drug tests by MLB over the next six months, according to the Daily News.

So let me get this straight, he rubs unknown substances on his body from his trainer, clueless to what it is, and now he goes into other people's locker and takes an unknown substance clueless that it was an amphetamine?

He is either dumb, or a compulsive liar.

I would take one cheap year of finley. I am not interested in erstad. Bernie Williams is intriguing though.

I would still take Jock over any of those three in CF.

He also mentions Ryan Church in the article...keep the faith folks.

Dave-
Steve Finley in 2006:
.246/.333/.444, 21 2B, 12 3B, 6 HR, 40 RBI, 7 SB.

Why pay any $$ for a 42 year old CF, who is done?
Do you really think that Pie couldn't do at least what Finley did last season?
Let's not waste the money.

finley's still in really great shape...for what its worth.

And we think baseball salaries are out of control. David Beckham is set to sign a 5 year $250 million deal with the LA Galaxy.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=39...

a lot of it is being paid by corporate sponsorship it sounds like, MLB even waived salary cap rules to make it work so I'm guessing maybe the league is chipping some because of all the publicity it will bring.

MLS I meant

David Beckham...sweet...is it 1999 yet?

MLS = blah. I'd rather talk about the Royals acquiring Low-A reliever Russ Haltiwanger.

If we do trade JJones, Hendry needs to get something great in return for him and not just do the standard "dump and chase" with some random minor leaguers or PTBNLs. Given the current FA market Jones is one of the best OF values in all of MLB, and he's locked up for 2 years.

these two guys are beyond done, i could not be less excited about this rumor.

if those are the best other options, trading jones would be insane....there must be something else going on behind the scenes

Speaking of outfielder free agents, the NY Times noted yesterday that J.D. Drew still is officially a free agent as he has not yet been signed by the Red Sox. With his physical apparently not going all that well, the Red Sox apparently are back-pedaling and the speculation in the NY Times was that the Red Sox are working on a different deal with Drew, for fewer years and less money.

"Given the current FA market Jones is one of the best OF values in all of MLB, and he’s locked up for 2 years."

I wish MVN.com would post the old TCR archives already... I'm dying to read the comment thread of the night we signed Jones!

Erstad was my neighbor in college and a great guy. But... both of those guys are washed up! I would rather keep Jones. Even as a stop gap measure. If Pie is ready Jones will have more value at the dealine.

I have the feeling that the trade market for OF's might be a bit of a glut right now, While we are apparently trying to find a taker for JJ, the Brewers are reportedly trying to dump some combination of Geoff Jenkins, Brady Clark and Kevin Mench, which might drive down the market value for Jones.

There is some urgency to trade Jones during the offseason if you want to get a maximum return. (Of course, as with any player who's on the block it's better not to appear too urgent.)

Right now Jones is an everyday right fielder, a guy who plays every inning of every game no matter who's pitching--because that's the way the Cubs used him last year. The minute you start moving him around and platooning him, his status changes and his value goes down along with his numbers.

He could also get grumpy on the bench and in the clubhouse. He expected to play right field for three years and then go shopping for another contract. Now the Cubs are demoting him. So everybody's happy about the Cubs getting Soriano except one guy.

Another guy who's in an awkward position is Floyd. He considers himself a starting left fielder. The Cubs don't even want him for a righty-lefty platoon with Murton because then Murton would only play every third or fourth game. They basically want Floyd as a reserve. It's no wonder the two sides can't reach an agreement. But they don't want Floyd to show up grumpy, either.

All this was easier when Dusty was here. Just play whoever's older!

Jones, and it pains me to say it, is light years ahead of Clark, Jenkins and Mench -- skill-wise and contract-wise.

"the NY Times noted yesterday that J.D. Drew still is officially a free agent as he has not yet been signed by the Red Sox"
Bonds too.

" his value goes down along with his numbers"
Wouldn't his numbers look better if he didn't face lefty's who he can't hit?

I wish MVN.com would post the old TCR archives already… I’m dying to read the comment thread of the night we signed Jones!

it's in the pipeline in regards to the archives being moved, no later than spring training that's for sure (or so I'm told)

here was my take fwiw:
The Jones signing does nothing for me, just like every other move the Cubs made this off-season beyond maybe Juan Pierre. As has been mentioned numerous times, if this is piece #1 of a right field platoon where the short end of the platoon is filled by Craig Wilson, Kevin Mench or some other masher of lefties, then it's brilliant. But Jones isn't going to sign with a team that is going to platoon him, Dusty will doubtfully platoon him and Hendry will most likely not provide a platoon partner. So barring further manuevers, this is another ho-hum move by the Cubs this off-season, that does very little if anything to make them better for next season.

Ruz:
The more I think about it, though, the more I realize that I don't hate this signing. I certainly don't think it's terrible, like giving nearly $40M to Jarrod Washburn, or like giving any money at all to Tony Batista. It's only about $5M a year, so it won't break the bank.

In general, I guess I'm ambivalent, leaning barely toward grudging acceptance. Mostly, it's the third year that upsets me

He then wrote something later about really liking it because it canned Burnitz and would keep Corey on the bench.

Who's Corey? I don't remember anyone by that name. Burnitz ate his boogers.

Darin Erstad & Steve Finley? Crap.

There really is no reason to sign either Finley or Erstad. Jacque Jones will be a fine fill-in until Felix Pie is ready. I know Jones wants to be traded, but if that's not in the team's best interest, then he should just stay put. If Pie is ready in the middle of the year, then maybe the Cubs can trade Jones at the trade deadline.

The other option is to bring in someone via trade that will be the CF now and in to the future. Someone like Carl Crawford (or even Andruw Jones). Pie may be a good prospect, but there's no guarantee that he'll ever be the player the Cubs hope he'll be.

It doesn't make any sense to spend so much money in hopes of winning a WS and then sign some over-priced, wash-up player to fill the void in CF. After spending so much money this off-season, the Cubs need to do the thing in CF that gives them the best chance of winning now. Neither Finley or Erstad gives them that chance.

After writing that last post, I've been looking at stats for Carl Crawford and Rocco Baldelli. Either one would look good in CF at Wrigley.

I'm leary of "can't miss" prospects like Felix Pie. I know he has great tools, but so did others the Cubs have brought up over the years who didn't amount to half of what they were projected to do.

I don't want to give up on Pie, but what are the chances that he'll ever be as good as Crawford or Baldelli are right now? Considering the money the Cubs are already spending, I'd like to see them get a bit more of a sure thing in CF instead of getting some stop gap solution that will save a spot for an unproven prospect.

You can jump on my small Crawford, Baldelli band wagon Sweet Lou.

During the Winter Meetings, the D-Rays indicated that it would take an MLB-ready starting pitcher and position player to get Baldelli, but that a starter and position player "with a high ceiling" might get the deal done.

Jacque Jones is available and Felix Pie certainly qualifies as a position player with a high ceiling. Do the Cubs have an MLB-ready pitcher they could deal? Would Sean Marshall be considered MLB-ready? The D-Rays want MLB-ready players, but they don't want to pay normal MLB salaries.

the j.jones issue doesnt really seem to be that there's something better out there looking for in CF as much as it is trying to move an unhappy player out of the lockerroom.

at least jones isnt being a total dickhead about wanting out and dragging this through the media. so far i cant really say im upset about anything in the jones situation except i wish he didnt want to leave.

that doesnt mean hendry has to trade him and personally i'd love to see JJ out in CF next year, but it seems like jones really wants out and hendry's trying to accommodate.

whatever becomes of it, i hope its helps...

Erstad? I want to throw up.

Honestly, why pay these guys to play at exactly the level you could expect Pie to play? Is there something wrong with paying the laegue minimum? DOes Hendry break out in hives if he goes a month without passing out a 2 year $7 million contract???

The point is to not rush Pie into the majors and possibly ruin his future. I can't believe you are all complaining about this. Aren't some of you the same people who think that Patterson was rushed?

Drays aren't going to trade Baldelli or Crawford for another outfielder, especially one in his early 30's.

Start at Hill, Guzman, Marshall or Marmol

I can't even think of a position player they'd want from our system.

You could get Baldelli from the Rays for Sean Marshall, Will Ohman and Scott Moore, I'm convinced of that. No way Tampa gets a better offer for Baldelli than a major-league ready, young 4/5 starter, a solid, inexpensive reliever, and a high-ceiling slugging prospect that can play 1B or 3B.

Rays won't move of course because they're morons, but that would actually be a solid trade for them. They don't need Baldelli, it's not like Tampa is going to content next year. What they need to do is make space for Dukes and Upton and see if they have major league talent or not.

Crawford OTOH, no way Tampa trades him, he's their one legitimate star player and a fan favorite.

Marshall? Look, IMO both Crawford and Baldelli will perform well above what they will be paid in the next few years and both have high ceilings, so it's going to take a whole hell of a lot more than Marshall to get either one.

Maybe Eric the Great's deal of Marshall/Ohman/Moore could get Baldelli if the DRays are stupid, but let's be realistic, the Cub's don't want him, they want the lefty... and it will take a lot more in trade to get him.

None of the teams in the NL central are going to run away with the division, nor is anyone going to run off with the wild card. There's no rush to fix center field. See how Pie does, see how stopgap does, then make a trade at the ASB or earlier if it's obvious that something needs to be done.

I don't think A Jones wants to be traded, nor do I think the Cubs want to pay 2/3rds of their outfield $38 million per year, which is what they would need to do to get Jones to agree to a trade.

What Hendry should do is sing Drew to a make good one year deal.

"Do the Cubs have an MLB-ready pitcher they could deal"

Could the Cubs list the Marlins as a reference for the D-Rays?

I'm against getting a stop gap CF until Pie is "ready". First, all of the Cubs actions this off season have been to dramatically improve the team and go for the WS. We can argue about the quality of the pitchers they obtained, but they were dealing with a not too impressive pool of talent. To get a Finley, Williams or Erstad would go directly against that trend. Second, Pie may be our best prospect, but he is not considered a can't miss prospect by most of the people that rate those sorts of things. To bring him to the majors without at least one more AAA season would be a big mistake and this season he would have to be very impressive a AAA to even consider him a "can't miss prospect" and save a spot for him. All that being said, they should get a decent CF that can be a contributer this year and beyond. If Pie arives next year and is all the Cubs think he is, all the better, you can always make trades. Let's not put crap in CF with the hope Pie arrives in July. That is the same mistake they made the last two years waiting for some pitchers to get healthy and they learned that pitching lesson this year. Wating for a prospect to arrive and filling the gap with crap is the same as waiting for pitching injuries to heal and filling rotation with crap. Don't forget the lesson you learned in pitching and repeat it in CF.

Good Idea TJ,

I agree. The Cubs should sign Andruw Jones tomorrow.

In line with the recent discussion about Cub bench strength, I look at Erstad and Finley not as starting centerfielders but as replacements for Pagan.

What's Jerome Walton up to these days? He used to play a pretty mean CF.

Erstad, Finley? I just puked in my mouth...

I say we keep JJ and play him in center to start the season and teach Theriot to play center so we can platoon him with JJ.

Wait till the break and see how Pie is doing in AAA and decide if we want to move JJ or not.-

If we do move JJ at the break, we bring up Pie see how he does. If he is terrible, we move Soriano to center, play murton in left, & floyd in right (or whoever we pick up).

amazingly (amazing mostly cuz he'd be paid to do so) jerome still does card shows.

saw him 2 years ago and he's still in great shape.

judging by his smile and his looks he didnt piss away the money he saved...or he invested it all in jewelry and clothing to wear to card shows.

Jerome Walton was my favorite player...I still remember him and Dwight Smith giving Cubs fans so much hope for the future.

And I will always remember his hitting streak.

And oh yea...hitting .364 in the playoffs in 1989 didn't hurt either.

he didnt piss away the money he saved

Did he ever make much money?

Here is some news making LA cardiologists and dieticians a little upset.

http://www.latimes.com/sports/baseball/mlb/do...

Bruce Levine reported...on ESPN 1000 in Chi this A.M., the national update guy on the network during "Mike and Mike" stated the Cubs were close to signing ___ Perez to a minor league contract.

I was busy sipping on my morning beverage in the car and was not focused.

did anyone else hear this?

It wasn't NEIFI.

Tony?

Antonio?

Where would they play Tony? D.LEE already has the gig.

http://cubs.scout.com/2/609007.html

Hmmm, so Adam Harben had TJ surgery in October but he's still going to camp as part of the deal he made for getting removed from the 40-man.

from Fleita
He was taken off the 40-man roster and by doing that, part of the deal was that we’d take him to big league camp. He won’t do anything but rehab, but you’ve got to reward him for what he would have earned.�?

I couldn't find anything on the web for Perez and Cubs other than Tony Perez being at the Iowa Cubs fan fest.

Nats signed Jerome WIlliams to a one year deal.

You could get Baldelli from the Rays for Sean Marshall, Will Ohman and Scott Moore, I’m convinced of that. No way Tampa gets a better offer for Baldelli than a major-league ready, young 4/5 starter, a solid, inexpensive reliever, and a high-ceiling slugging prospect that can play 1B or 3B.

They'd probably prefer Rapada over Ohman and I'm sure the upside of Guzman over Marshall. And it would help if Moore actually was a high-ceiling slugging prospect. The guy isn't even on half the top 10 Cubs prospect lists.

We have two position prospects worth a damn and they're Pie and E-Pat. I'm sure Ryan Harvey would interest some folks too with all that power and pretty much a major league glove and arm, but he still needs a lot of work.

Rubby Perez?

Who cares if JJ asked to be traded. You can't trade soemone because they asked to be traded. I understand the approach that if someone doesn't want to be here we'll get rid of them, but if the alternative is Finley, Erstad, etc, I'd rather have an unhappy Jones. Manny Ramirez has asked to be traded for a couple of years and the Red Sox wouldn't and won't do it unless they can get something back they want. If we can make a good trade for Jones do so, but don't dump him just because he asked to go.

i love the potential signing of both Erstad or Finley -
both are intangible players - both gold glove caliber centerfielders - and with our staff, and with Murton and Soriano on the corners - we need a presence in CF.

I like Erstad to bat second - he is exceptional at situational hitting - plus it buys a year for Pie to see if he is for real. why rush Pie and have another CPatt situation???

Erstad wins wherever he goes. he does the little things.

By the way, you'd have to trade Rich Hill to get Baldelli - he's a stud. still interested?

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